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Page 668. 1920 Rudge-Whitworth Simplex Power Unit 104cc

1920 Rudge-Whitworth  Roadster ‘Simplex Power Unit’ 104cc (Patrick Engineering Ltd, Birmingham)

 

 

This two-stroke auxiliary engine was fitted above the rear wheel of a strengthened bicycle to create this machine and it was available in either ladies’ or gents’ versions. It had a 104cc engine with a horizontal cylinder that had the fuel tank above, magneto ignition, Amac carburettor and drove the rear wheel by chain. A plate clutch was optional.

The Simplex was a well-made engine that, as well as being sold already fitted to a bicycle, was also sold as as an engine kit for the customer to fit themself. Other companies’ motorcycles and scooters, such as Aerolite, Zephyr, Hack and Osmond were fitted with the Simplex engine. Patrick Engineering Ltd of Birmingham, the manufacturers, also made a motorcycle called the Motorped that they fitted with the Simplex Power Unit.

This example is in first class condition, and appears to be unused. It is fitted to a Gent’s Rudge-Whitworth ‘All-Weather’ Roadster (so named because of its valanced mudguards).

 

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SIMPLEX POWER UNIT

made by PATRICK ENGINEERING Co Ltd, BIRMINGHAM

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The designers and manufacturers at Patrick Engineering experimented with the Simplex for five years before it came onto the market. It was first described in the Motor Cycle magazine in 1915.

One innovative feature of the Simplex unit is the multiple-plate clutch, automatically operated in conjunction with the compression release. The rider therefore only needs one lever to stop and disengage the engine.

The 2-stroke engine with revolving countershaft clutch, weighs about 23lbs. It is easily mounted onto a bicycle rear carrier.

Patrick Engineering did design a 2-speed model. But the original single-speed unit was so efficient in road-tests, propelling the rider uphill with ease, that the 2-speeder did not go into production.

Sole distributor for the Simplex engine was Messrs Henry Garner Ltd. and it was priced at £23 guineas. Sales started around October 1919, with initial plans for production of 100 per week.

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Here is a contemporary review of the machine

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